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tv   [untitled]    December 6, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PST

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with this weapon system and what they attracted were both officer injuries and suspect injuries in both categories were less after the dow deployments and i think that there is a number of sets of data out there and unfortunately it is not always an alignment. >> these is around people who are experiencing mental health issues. i think that the law enforcement happens within our 49 scary miles and what happens on our highways is different as well. there are number of contributing factors as we look at the 15 officer-involved shootings over a five-year study, seven were non-lethal and eight were lethal. and all 7 cases, there was no
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detections of any drugs or anything of that nature on board. and on all eight instances medical examiner, discovered multiple drugs on board of the victim in those cases. i think that there are a number of factors that contribute to the injuries that we may be talking about that i don't think will be captured in one paragraph of a report. >> and before we go to the public comment, one last question, what is it now that is driving a push within the department for tasers? is there a... has the human heart changed over the past, you know, five years or so? are we seeing dramatic increase in officer-involved shootings compared to what we had before? are we finding that despite what we see in terms of controversy that this is what is considered the best practices? what is actually driving this forward? >> you know, i think that the human heart in particular, the heart of this department has
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not changed. if you looked at the history, if you look at the history of the department, every chief starting with every chief has asked for tasers, including fong, and temporary chief, and go down and now chief sure. and in each of the cases i think that those discussions were precipitated by an officer-involved shooting that in the hearts and minds of our chief of this organization and looked at the facts of that and said that if we have a different weapon system and a electronic weapon control system we would not have to have deployed that force and in this case with the chief sure and i completely concur, that the shooting in july, that had we had a electronic weapon system in place and that person would be alive today and back
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to the road to recovery. and i think that is conist ent and the reason behind the chiefs bringing this discussion to bear. >> just hearing that i am reminded of when officer... was shot and he was shot by an officer, he said that he thought that he had a taser. and would be applying that. so i don't see it as necessarily as an equation that necessarily equates to the officer-involved shootings and we also have the experience of settled and so we do on the board of supervisors and occasionally we have settlements of policing the settlements that deal with the victim of someone at the hands of the police. that comes up. that weapon will lead to other settlement or liabilities that we will have as a city moving
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for ward. >> that is a big threat and concern, that i think that member of this committee have and certainly the member of the public have has well. >> i think that is precisely why the chief wants to make sure that we adhere to the resolution that we do engage the community and that we are incredibly transparent in terms of what we have in place to safe guard and limit any liability that takes place, i mean, the nature of law enforcement is that it is not without liability. there is something, you can't control everything and some things do not happen according to planned. so how do we make certain, what do we do to put in place to insure that our officers are prudent and judicious in their conduct, that is clear, training and oversight for those who are responsible for the engagement and carrying out of the commission. >> we are going to public comment. i am just afraid that we are approaching a lethal cliff and we are approaching a place
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where we open ourselves up to greater liability by use of tasers. >> let's go into public comment. >> i have a few cards that i can call moving forward. and a few let's see lisa alator. michael gos from the mental health association and mckay davis from the aclu. >> good morning, supervisors and staff, and members of the community. thanks for holding this hearing today. my name is lisa alator i, i am a resident of san francisco and i am an organizer with the coalition of homelessness and today i am proud to stand with my community members and my colleagues to say strongly that san francisco does not want tasers and san francisco does not need tasers. >> san francisco police department has been given the chance to set a national precedent in how they respond to crisis situations through
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the implementations of the crisis intervention team. instead of prioritizing the training and the culture shifts that are necessary to save the lives of our vulnerable populations he is offering a new weapon to be used. numerous studies shows that they are a deadly weapon that do nothing to lower fatality or police shooting victims. in fact we have seen the opposite. you will hear more testimony that highlights lawsuits and respect if i have studies done here in california and nationally that expose the harms of trigger happy police officers who rely on force instead of culturally competent deescalation tactics. they need to invest in strategies to support the communities is not lethal weapons. thank you. >> thank you, very much. next speaker, please? >> please, please, refrain from
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clapping. this is the tone that i would like to set for this hearing and other hearings. >> good morning, i am michael, the deputy director of the mental health association of san francisco. and to start off, i just wanted to thank you guys for having this hearing today and also thank the department, the police department commander ali for the work over the last two years with us as members of the working group who have attempted to implement cit here in san francisco. i know that i don't have much time but over the past two years i have been part of the group of community leaders in implementing cit here in san francisco and i think that it is important to clarify that cit is still very much in process, which is why my opposition to tasers, where it comes from. we have had three trainings for cit so far. and it is still is training, it is not yet a team. so i think that is something to be very clear about. we have had three great trainings but as far as the
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implementation of protocol and working with the department of emergency management and 911 operators and doing follow up and evaluation of effort and debriefing quarterly. those are things that we need to be working on first in my opinion before going to tasers. also, the question of arming cit officers only with tasers is something that concerns me as a mental elth advocate and something who has dealt with it myself. it puts those folks in crisis at greater risk of encountering tasers, not to say that anybody should encounter tasers. if it is only going to crisis trained officers they will see the tasers first, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> next speaker please? >> micala davis i am an attorney with the aclu of california, most of the supervisors have a copy of the letter that we sent to mayor lee this summer which outlines
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a majority of our position. but i would like to highlight a few issues here today. we believe that other speakers have said that the police department fulfills the obligation to fully implement the cit program and unless and until they complete a stud yf all less lethal alternatives and complete the obligation to meet with the community members on this issue that it is entirely premature to investigate a pilot program for tasers in this city, had the department moved more quickly to implement the cit training the incident this summer may have been avoided. tasers constitute a significant level of force as we have heard today. too often, they are viewed as homeless, non-lethal devices that temporarily incompass taits that is false. when use as intended they cause pain and as we have seen across the nation they pose a risk of serious jury or death. >> as you have heard today, in particular people with mental
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health problem are more likely to be at high risk of death, and with that high population in san francisco and coming in contact often with the san francisco police department, we don't want to run a risk of that population being impacted. and the aclu is also concerned with the civil rights implications that the supervisors spoke of today. you know, across the nation and in san francisco, you will see the african american communities of color are impacted by accessive use of force that would lead us to believe that once they are instituted they would also be disproportionately used against the xhupts of color. because they are easy to use it will increase over use and officers will be use it as the first line rather than reverting to what they used in training such as verbal commands and we also have outlined many incidents of litigation that have occurred...
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>> just some follow up questions. did you ever get a response from the mayor on your letter? >> no, we did not. >> and any of the staff in >> no. >> i think that the letter was actually really well done and it is well documented and there are a number of citations in here, do you recall what i read to commander ali, right now, referencing how it looks to be when tasers are involved in working with people who have mental health issues or who have drug use in their system, that increases the amount of injury that happens when making contact with such folks. >> yes, that is correct. and that is exactly why we think that especially one of the proposals put form to arm the cit officers in particular with the weapons runs in the con tarry. >> are you familiar with the
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study of the university of florida, i am wondering how widespread does that look at it. and does it like at highway patrol or highway patrol agencies or just anywhere where the cases were applied and look in the jail systems. >> i have to go back and take a look at that. but i know that there are a number of studies and some since that have looked across the nation and different municipalities i know that other agencies have looked at this as well and i can find that for you and follow up. >> how do you know that being tased just does not result in muscle contraction but actually results in the experience of excruciating pain. >> i have not been tased and i would approach that with dreptation. you will see that there are numerous incidents of how the body reacts and has the 50,000 volts struck through you and in addition to the pain caused by that electric volt there is a risk of the increase of injury
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caused by the incident, if you are struck and you fall and you hit your head, that use of the taser increases further struggle and escalate that incident into a much more lethal situation, that can also cause injury from other uses of force as well not just tasers. >> it is here that even though you might get 50,000 volts, that there is amps that reduce what the impact is. do you know about how that might work? are you an electrician as well? >> i am not. i know some jurisdictions that have put in place the tasers have experienced that the officers will over use the tasers and so you know one thing that we have heard is that this happens for about five seconds. but officers there is nothing to stop an officer in at least some of the tasers models from repeatedly deploying that charge. so especially from the accessive use of force cases that you will see is cases in
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which the officers will deploy, 1, 2, 3, 4, a number of times, on people that are not responding, and that increases that volt each time. >> we also have the use of tasers in san francisco, and in our jails and the sheriff department. has the aclu looked at the use of tasers in the department and what in terms of injury or in terms of even death that may have occurred? >> i don't know that we have looked recently at the sheriff's department but i can look into that. one difference between custody use and the patrol use, they don't believe that it should be used with the sheriff either. but the reality is that the police department are the ones out on the street in parole much more often and those are the ones encountering individuals in crisis who may be acting in a state, and maybe acting overly aggressive and
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maybe a harm to themselves and so the san francisco police department there is not quite the exact you can't equate the two to the in custody use and the parole use. >> and supervisor campos mentioned the increased liability and impacts to what the police departments may experience in terms of paying out federal loans or court cases could you talk about that? >> there have been a number of cases in the bay area and around the nation and in california and in northern california. and what we highlight in the letter are the recent examples in which especially in northern california, the juries are likely to pay out higher settlement amounts and that is something that should concern the supervisors in terms of liability. not only in the cases where a death was caused but in a situation where it was used that it amounted for an
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accessive use of force. you will have juries around california handing out multimillion-dollar verdicts and cities and counties settling for the officers misusing these die vices and i have no doubt that some of the population, here that would be disproportionately impacted would probably have a problem and file suit. >> in san francisco, we would apply tasers here, we would have rules about how they are used. but, i guess, there is no rules anywhere else about how they are applied because they are cases of possible abuse and settlements or that settlements occurred or does that mean that there are lower standards for how they are used and applied. >> you will see different policies across different jurisdictions. >> what those draft policy here does is it is not specific,
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where in the continuing of force that a taser is to be used we have heard conflicting things out of the department and at some point we heard that they want to use it in instances where a firearm would be used. more often we they hader that can be used to curb someone's aggression and one of the uses can be more easily to bring someone into custody or put them under control. and so, you will see in jurisdictions that have a higher standard of care, you know, they will specify, that this is only to be used in those most serious situations, where there is very, a risk of serious injury or imminent death and the draft policy does not indicate that that seems to be the case here. >> so from your... how long have you been monitoring the discussion about tasers in san francisco? >> this has been the aclu has been involved in the conversation i believe for the last three years or so. but, in this specific grounds
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of the ask for tasers, but it has been an issue that concerned the organization since the tasers have been introduced. >> do you feel that, you know, the police one to use these as the pilot program, is that the only way that the police commission has been approached about wanting to improvement the taser program or actually broader in the past. >> it has been broader, you know, the move towards wanting to arm the cit officers only has come in response to increased criticism and that is a round about way to sort of introduce tasers into the department. you know, the fact of the matter is that the department seems to continually request these tasers, and every time that an incident happens in which there is something that it can capitolize on such as the shooting of the man armed with the box cutter. what we have seen is that we don't think that there is a demonstrated need over the last three years for example, as the successive administrations and
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the department have asked for tasers, we don't see a change or an example of that officers are really unequipped to do their job with the tools that they have. >> my last question. we will get to other folks. and your understanding of how tasers are on mried in different jurisdictions, is it the exception or the rule that there are more smaller portions of the police department that%backer using the tasers? are there more or every officer has a taser in most jurisdictions? >> i would have to take a closer look at that. but i believe in many jurisdictions that it is across the board use. i don't think that you see too many jurisdictions in which you have a cit officer, for example as is proposed here or one of the proposals here. and so, i think that we see the
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risk if this is introduced as a pilot program and we see that once that this becomes institutionalized that we do run the risk of this becoming a department-wide phenomena and since the department has shown itself to be some what flow, for example, in instituting cit we really have questions about if and when that taser, that the tasers are kind of spread to the rest of department, is the department able to keep up with the necessary training, monitoring, you know, both on the front and the back end that is needed to keep this or to have a safe taser use policy. we have big questions about whether or not they will be able to keep up with that. >> okay. >> do you have anything else to add? >> i think that i have said anything and i am available for further questions, if any of the supervisors have questions about what is in our letter. in closing, i would like to say, again, the message is that this is entirely premature, you know unless and until the department shows that it has looked at all of the other options available, and you know, even by saying that yes,
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it is only a pilot program, there is no reason even for a pilot program until the cit model has been fully implemented and we have done the proper research. >> okay, thank you. >> i am going to call a few more cards. >> robert weber, and terry cook, aaron flinn, if you want to line up against the wall that i am pointing at and andrew mendez. delora yarburo. >> good morning, supervisors. robert weber and i am a activist and organizer and i would like to state that while an alternative to firearm may sound to some as a positive alternative, i would hope the board and all considered to look to the scientific community to come up with a more humane method of subduing
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these non-cooperative suspects. my personal concern of abuse or possible abuse of the taser is founded on personal witness as well as historical fact. and thank you very much for your time. >> next speaker, please? >> hello, my name is terry coch and i represent the national lawyers guild and i am here to talk about why we oppose this. personally i worked as an attorney for mentally ill people and i am under court appointment in many of those cases. in san francisco. the ones that i work with, and are fortunate enough to respond to treatment are released into the community. and these are the people that we are talking about when you talk about crisis intervention. personality, i have a little trouble walking and i would hate to think that that would get me tased. but you know what?
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it could. if somebody has to sit down and is also in crisis, i don't believe that they are going to get ut and take care of business the way that we want them to and respond to crisis intervention by getting a jolt of 50,000 volts. and we do know that homeless people are more likely to have physical problems. we know that persons in crisis, react differently to physical reactions. and in fact, it is possible that with adrenaline and various other functions of our body, that a jolt of 50,000 volts with add both to our crisis and to possible mal adaptive reactions. thank you very much. >> thank you, next speaker, please?
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>> good afternoon, my name is andrew mendes and i am a san francisco resident and a volunteer of the coalition of homelessness. just to echo the sentiment of my colleagues, the crisis intervention team is nowhere being completely implemented none of the other parts of the program have been deployed. there is a 911 protocol that is meant to be deployed where the dispatch is flagged. there is no changing of protocol to responding to crisis and putting the cit officers in charge of the scene or the intense evaluation in the field. tasers would kill the effort before it has truly gone off the ground and the remarks about or by the police chief sure saying now the chief is
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gone. and well, let's see. the remarks by the police chief shore to say that it is memphis plus is not factual and comments by commander ali saying that words don't work sometimes when in fact the whole point of cit is to deal with people who are unable to respond to verbal commands, or traditional command and control techniques sos the fundamental lack of... of the pd or perhaps understanding what a crisis intervention team is meant to be. also on the side, when i was a student i worked at a law firm and one of the cases was a class action suit was against manufacturers of electronic external defibrillators. so, i don't, i left the firm before the out come of this case was, i don't know the out come. but the fact that it had
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already gone to litigation might be useful in your cost analysis for the implementation. >> thank you. >> next speaker, please? >> hi, my name is delara yarbro and i would like to say that we have heard some powerful from the officers and i really feel for those officers who wish that some sort of magic bullet existed and wished that something could have been different. as a sociologyist i really like to look at statistics and data. so my question is what do studies, academic studies, large, studies and peer reviewed academic journals tell us about what happens when departments get tasers? and what they tell us is that fatalities actually go up
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immediately, subsequently to the introduction of tasers. i have a 2009 study from the american journal of cardology done by cardologyist at our very own usfc, if you are interested i can e-mail you the file. i want to encourage people to think about where the data is coming from and to ask questions of the experts. so mental health professionals, doctors, we should be asking doctors how do tasers work? how does that electricity work? in the body of someone with a heart arythmia that you can't tell by looking on. please let me know if you would like a copy of that. >> i would like a copy of that. >> is that study that looked at 84 california police departments? >> yes. >> thank you.
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>> if you could supply it for all of our offices that will be great. >> next speaker and i am going to call a few names before you speak. >> hope, dennis dean, michael lion. arao, and kenny levels. >> my name is aaron flinn and i am from the hospitality house and it was mentioned earlier in rubber bullets, i can saying that... >> i cannot hear you. >> i just repeat that. >> item was mentioned earlier and in the use of rubber bullets and i lived in europe for a long time and i can safely say that all weapons are harmless and tasers are no exception. even though they are disguised as a less lethal option and amnesty international reported that 500 people in the u.s.
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died since 2001 in california alone. we know that mentally ill people are particular risk but so are others, such as elderly, pregnant woman, and people with heart problems and drug users. i believe that there needs to be another alternative for crisis intervention teams and one without weapons. thank you. >> hope, as the founder, i have been for 40 years, and needless to say in that time i have encountered many people in crisis, and i am 76 years old and i am still there, and i hope that we will not put tasers in the hands of our police officers or anyone else especially those dealing with people in crisis. and i have dealt with many people in crisis, on the street, in our facilities and in our safe house for e